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Eating well maximizes performance and recovery time and maintains overall health.
It also helps with weight management. Optimizing your weight is the single best step you can take to prevent joint damage and prolong an active lifestyle.
Protein is our new health food. We believe people do not eat enough protein and have been confused by the recommendations for a "balanced diet.” When you are hungry between meals, eat protein. Avoid carbohydrates and fats in snacks. A protein shake or bar will quench your hunger, last longer, and provide more stable energy than any other food.
Opt for carbohydrates that contain dietary fiber without added sugars. The best forms are fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Opt for unsaturated fats from nuts, fish, and vegetables oils.
Water is the key to a healthy diet and well-lubricated joints. Most people are relatively dehydrated during the day. All cells in the body, from the brain to the muscle to the cartilage function better in a more hydrated state. If you increase your water intake to a tall glass of plain non-carbonated water every hour, you will accomplish several important health benefits:
- Increase hydration of all cells and lubrication of the joints.
- Feel less stiff.
- Wash away many of the impurities in our diet.
- Lose weight due to portion control (you’ll feel less hungry and drink fewer calorie loaded drinks).
Always drink plain, non-carbonated water and finish the glass when you lift it up (a glass of carbonated water is too hard to finish). Drink one glass of water between each alcoholic drink.
Nutrition made easy
- Increase your protein
- Aim for 7 - 13 servings of fruits and vegetables daily (1 serving = 1 cup).
- Avoid processed foods.
- Drink lots of water
Glucosamine as an oral supplement has had tremendous success in the veterinary world (horses and dogs stop limping when taking glucosamine) and mixed success in the human world. Our clinic's experience has been highly positive with thousands of patients telling us they feel less stiff on glucosamine. In the ever largest double blind study, glucosamine worked as well as Celebrex for patients with moderate to severe arthritis. We recommend 3000 mg per day and we've developed Joint Juice to help people get their daily dose.
Calcium and vitamin D
These are good for bone building but getting enough without taking supplements is not easy.
Sufficient daily calcium is difficult to obtain as most adults do not consume enough dairy. 1500 mg of supplemental calcium per day is recommended with vitamin D.
Only sunlight naturally converts enough of the inactive vitamin D to the active form. A minimum of 30 minutes per day of nearly total body exposure is required. Recommended supplementation levels of vitamin D have been far too low (most vitamin pills have 400 IU) and nearly 2,000 IU of supplementation per day may be needed. However these recommendations are under active review and may be revised.
Calcium and vitamin D supplements are particularly important for women. We believe that almost all women are deficient in calcium and Vitamin D, and they start rapidly losing bone mineral density after age 30.
During exercise, B‐complex vitamins are involved in energy production, and Folate and vitamin B‐12 are required for the production of red blood cells, protein synthesis, and tissue repair. Vitamins A, E, and C, beta carotene, and selenium protect against oxidative damage. However, we believe most people’s diets get enough of each of these vitamins.
Iron deficiency is the leading cause of anemia in the United States and is the most common nutritional deficiency. Since it leads to anemia, there are direct performance affects on athletes.
Zinc plays a role in building and the repair of muscle as well as energy production. Often diets low in animal products will be deficient in zinc. Exercise is a stressor that can decrease zinc levels, and thus, athletes are at risk for being deficient. Oysters, red meat, and poultry provide the majority of zinc in the American diet. Other good food sources include beans, nuts, some seafood, whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals, and dairy products.
A note on vegetarian diets
Vegetarian diets are usually poor in iron, vitamins, and protein. Plant‐derived proteins are not as well digested as animal proteins. The low bioavailability of iron from plants increases the risk of anemia. Combined with the low intake of Vitamin B12, D, riboflavin, calcium, and zinc, vegetarian diets do not make the ideal sports performance choice.